The Affluent Entrepreneur Show

Money, Debt, Dopamine & Freedom with Frank Benedetto

July 10, 2023 Mel H Abraham, CPA, CVA, ASA Season 2 Episode 151
The Affluent Entrepreneur Show
Money, Debt, Dopamine & Freedom with Frank Benedetto
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Let's talk about money, debt, and that sweet dopamine rush we all love. It's crazy how these things are all intertwined and affect our freedom in different ways.

That's why I’m bringing you some straight-up real talk in this episode. Joining us is my good friend Frank Benedetto, a physical therapist and entrepreneur, who will delve into the fascinating interplay between our finances, dopamine levels, and sense of freedom. 

We discuss how our brains are wired to seek instant gratification and how this can lead to bad money decisions and debt. Frank shares some practical tips on breaking free from this cycle and creating healthy money habits that can lead to long-term financial freedom. 

So if you're ready to take control of your finances and live a fulfilling life, then tune in for some killer insights and strategies!


  • Understanding the relationship between dopamine and money
  • How to recover from financial setbacks
  • The importance of work-life balance in entrepreneurship

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Mel Abraham  0:00  
All this was a good one. But they all are. I am talking to our dear friend of mine, Frank Benedetto. He is a physical therapist, but we met under some, let's just say, crazy circumstances, when I got hurt backstage, you'll hear a little bit of that story in this episode. But we're gonna also talk about his his tumultuous journey with money, ups and downs, selling his business, losing the money going into debts, and how dopamine and addiction tendencies, not that he was an addict, but that dopamine hit can affect his buying decisions and how it may be affecting yours and what to do about it. This was an episode that is full of tips and ways that he navigated to put himself and his family into the financial freedom pass. So enjoy this episode of the affluent Entrepreneur Show. And let me know what you think. See you there. This is the absolute Entrepreneur Show for entrepreneurs that want to operate at a high level and achieve financial liberation. I'm your host, Mel Abraham, and I'll be sharing with you what it takes to create success beyond wealth. So you can have a richer, more fulfilling lifestyle. In this show, you'll learn how business and money intersect. So you can scale your business, scale your money, and scale your life, while creating a deeper impact and living with complete freedom. Because that's what it really means to be an absolute entrepreneur.
Hey, Frank, so good to have you on the show. God, it's been so long, for those of you that don't know. Let me just kind of go back Frank and I met by a kind of a weird set of circumstances. I am I do a lot of speaking around the country and I happen to be speaking at a at an event. And I was bouncing around backstage and and I was announcing and next thing I know, I felt like someone took a baseball bat to one of my calves and I was laying on the ground trying to announce the next speaker to stage from the ground. And that turned out what they thought I did was was strained a tore my Achilles tendon, which would have been real real problem for someone that's going to go stand on stage and speak. And it's someone that was backstage. Before one of the speakers was one of the husbands he says, you know, my, my physical therapist happens to be in the audience, would you would you want me to text him? And I said, yeah, it can't hurt. I mean, by this time, I had already gone to the emergency. I'd come back from an emergency. I'm on crutches, I got a brace on. I'm not moving the leg and unlike hobbling around. And so they they text, Frank, and Frank says, Where are you in? And I'll meet you. Now, I want to give you this perspective, because I think it's a really important perspective, when we start talking about some of the things that we've gone through. And then we'll let Frank give his background but so I meet Frank, behind the stage, back, you know, and we meet out, he sees me in, in the crutches and he sees me in the brace. And he looks at me and he says he looks at it, he says nice is First things first, he says you're getting rid of that brace. And I go what he says what they tell you six weeks in the brace, and I said Yes, something like that six weeks, they want to go to see an orthopedic surgeon and in the setting because you didn't you didn't really tear, the Achilles is fine, you may have torn a bit of the muscle. But here's the problem. He says you're sitting in a brace that they're going to put you in for six weeks and and by the time they take that brace off, is that that the first thing you're going to have to tackle is get your mind to believe you can use the leg again. And he said having that brace on isn't doing you any favors, we need to start moving it and getting getting the start moving. So he gave me some exercise. And literally within a day, I was moving on the leg now wasn't running on the leg. But I was moving on leg but and we can talk about this after Frank introduced himself. But I think that there's some things to take from that, you know, mine happened to be a calf muscle but the question is for you, what are the things in your mind that are holding you back because you think that that's what should be done? Or, or maybe someone handed that to you and said, This is what you should do. And now all of a sudden you've limited the movement in your life in your money in your in your world by doing that. And he was one of the most profound kind of knowledge pieces. When I met Frank when he said that to me, and I just dawned on me and it's stuck with me. And it's been it's been a number of years now. So with that introduction, this is Mike. We've become dear friends. He's successful. He's had the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. He's a dad, he's a he's a husband. He's he's just a good soul on him. movement and admission you're going to hear all kinds of things about a break. Welcome to the show. How are you my bread?

Frank Benedetto  5:05  
Mel, if you would have told me that that day would have ended up with me here on the show with you, I would have called you a liar or said there's no there's no way that this calf sprain turns into all this but I am that that day was one of the bad meeting it was a transformative moment in in my career and life so I'm ever thankful for your, for your sprained calf like can only say that, because ended up being a very minor issue. So it was anything more severe, I wouldn't say it but I'm pretty grateful. You stranger calf that day. And I actually want to continue on what you shared. And then I could give circle back and give a quick intro. So there's, there's now a growing body of research around this concept. And there's there's actually a freeze for it. So we all know placebo effect, right? Most famous really give somebody a sugar pill, tell them it's going to cut it might cause you know, this effect or this effect and, and in the person has that effect of very majority of the time? Well, a no SIBO effect no SIBO is the same phenomenon with a negative outcome. And there are parallels to this, that it's for predominantly a medical term. And it's a really, it's a major issue in medicine, because most healthcare providers across all credentials, know SIBO their patients into fear and lack of movement. And the lack of movement is actually the number one driver of most of the ailments that we that we incur as humans right now. And maybe it's not directly causative to diabetes. But there's no doubt somebody who is moving freely exercising, not fearful of movement is exponentially less likely to then get diabetes, because of the whole negative downward spiral of medicalization. So, there's definitely a parallel, where no SIBO language around money, and how that keeps people stuck. And I'm excited to share my journey around my relationship with money because I really hope it saves someone from reaching the depths that I had to go before learning the lessons that you teach, and many of which only became something I addressed when I had met you. And you gave me this, this new worldview around how to look at both my business says the money making machine and then what to do with the money once it's been earned, because I had made millions of dollars for making some of these corrections. And it's kind of painful back on.

Mel Abraham  7:37  
Yeah, yeah. Now, and you are in the medical field.

Frank Benedetto  7:42  
I am I am a doctor of physical therapy by trade, I do not practice in any sense of the traditional way, I think that's a traditional way is beyond broken. I would say that most people if you had physical therapy, you could relate to that. At some point, it felt a little bit like nonsense, like, why am I going to this clinic three times a week to barely see the physical therapist doing low level exercises. So my mission is to help inspire the healthcare Renaissance, I formally have been saying revolution, but I'm going to explain to you I've switched it to Renaissance. And that is starting with the movement professions. And my goal is to expand laterally and help evolve all fields of healthcare to what it should be and when it could be.

Mel Abraham  8:23  
So good, so good. And you've done. You've been on this journey, there's a couple of things that that catalyzed you coming to this space in this place in this journey and building your business and you actually built a really successful business and then sold it. And then and have been building more businesses since then.

Frank Benedetto  8:44  
Correct? Yes. So I graduated from physical therapy school in 2008. Worked for somebody for six, seven years 2015 made the plunge into my own practice, and decided to do it my own way. I had a business partner and we had a vision for for this new way of doing physical therapy. We built that to five locations and we were able to sell luckily just before COVID Before the lock downs because that that would have destroyed our business that that business model was high touch in person unlike any other PT clinic experience out there, but it hinged on low volume and in person care. And we would have been wiped out had we gone through the lock downs. So the so we were very lucky to exit four years and four months later from that start date. Prior to the sale, though, I had started already working on the next two business models, one an incubator to inspire more creative businesses in healthcare, and then a another a direct to consumer business that represented what I believed in the next version of healthcare could be which both are now continuing to grow to this day. Both rely heavily on technology, asynchronous care, and our lock down proof, future proof AI proof all of it proof, you know, because because we are on the cutting edge of the technology that's coming out in utilizing it.

Mel Abraham  10:09  
Wow. Wow. Now and you I mean, you did a successful exit, you are financially actually in a pretty good shape. But things kind of maybe they went they they kind of went away

Frank Benedetto  10:23  
for a little bit. Yeah, I'll go back to even before that melt because it's something I think most people would have a hard time speaking about. But I share openly. Because I do believe that there are more people out there in these situations that we've realized that if I found myself here, that means there's at least one person in your audience and if helps them then it's worth me dealing with ever emotions, I have to relive this thing. But I graduated with my doctor at 23 years old, I had way, way ahead, Headstart, I had no student loans. And I had I owned a home by the time I was 26 had two kids, my dad passed away in front of me unexpectedly, that same year, too. I was 26 years old. And for some reason, I did not have the coping skills, I did not have the coping skills to deal with it. And I unraveled that head start all the way to rock bottom when I was 30 years old, three and a half year fall to to this unimaginably low place. And starting off with no student loans, and finding myself at 30 years old with no home and $200,000 in self created debt to every possible place that you can have debt. There was there was no farther I could fault financially emotionally. It was it was a true rock bottom, there was no it's not just the the phrase there I don't, I actually don't have jail death. Like I'm not sure what could have been.

Mel Abraham  12:01  
It was financial and it was emotional. All of it,

Frank Benedetto  12:05  
all of it. And that year when I woke up on my 30th birthday, I think that we have pictures of these landmark years more clear than we have other points of our life and 30 is, is one of those. And I had a clearer picture. Because I'd always been ambitious person I always had dreamt big when I was 17. And I wrote my college applications, I said I was going to revolutionize the field of physical therapy in my college application. So I always had the vision but something when something I lost along the way. And when I was 30, I could not see it, there was just this discrepancy between who I thought I was going to be and who I was what we were two polar opposite human beings. And it was that day that I decided I was done. There was Wes and Eric Thomas video I found on YouTube that day. He was just screaming about this year, this year's goals I want to make this dream become a reality. And we'll talk about anymore and his subsequent change. And I can I can I can. At the event where I met you where he happened to be the surprise guests who had to say that in person, I still get chills thinking about that moment. And I quite literally that day decided it was far from the straight lineup because that doesn't happen. It's the rags to riches story is way too easy to paint this, you know this, like I decided and then I did it. Lots of hardship, lots of struggle. But I became determined again, and I set my sight on a vision. And I'm grateful for how much of a hole I was in financially because no small, moderate or large size when would have even made it a dense. Yeah, it was it would have been if I had made $100,000 a year, it would have been quite literally a drop in the bucket with what was leftover from life expenses to actually be able to start paying off the 200k and start making progress towards a financial future again. So I went big, I always had said from almost a more immature place, I was going to be millionaire by the time I was 30. So I said, I'm going to make a million this year. So I knew that I wasn't going to be a millionaire, you know, in net worth. But I did own and say I am going to make a million dollars this year. My business partner and I had a shared vision for that. And we did it. So one year later, just show up just short of that as like a random Tuesday in December of 2015. My business partner who's really the guy in numbers, calls me and he's just screaming, we did it. We did it. We did what we did what? And keep in mind we had no financial module. I didn't know what a p&l even was. I would have thought that when like candy or something. So he's like $1.1 million. We revenue was 1.1 million in our first year of business and wow, we doubled the next year we we went to 3 million in year three and then we did sell in year four, which came in just a little over 3 million again. And so unbelievable recovery yet, it didn't correct all the money issues. So and I think in some ways that actually accelerated some of the money issues because I started to see my income earning potential without actually having a strategy or a understanding of what to do with it afterwards. So even when I had sold that business, I was still nowhere near what you would imagine. As far as financially secure.

Mel Abraham  15:28  
Yeah, yeah. Because I know. And that was the other side of that was that you also felt that you were not, as I recall, present for your kids and your family. And that that was driving me batty too, because it felt like they couldn't. Maybe and and put words in your mouth. So correct me if I'm wrong. That that you were struggling to figure out how to they could coexist?

Frank Benedetto  15:53  
Yes, yes, that that the way I had built that business was unsustainable, and in opposition, with, with family life, with health, with the pie chart of life, and all we want to experience in it, it took up almost all of it. And, again, I could look back now and say I'm grateful. Because without that, I don't know, if I'd have the business model that I have now, which is the polar opposite of that, you know, which is, which is one that is coexist and facilitates the rest of life. It's the fuel for the rest of life, too. And, you know, time leveraged is my thing, everything I do, I look to do anytime leverage fashion. And that's only because that business was built on my time. It was built on, I evolved the business accidentally into a job that I hated. So I had five locations. And I was the regional manager if you had to put a title to it. So I spent most of my time driving a car to these different locations. I'm saying what how did I succeed into a job that I hate? This is insane. And I think that happens to a lot more business people than I realized. And you were instrumental in helping me get off what you refer to as the treadmill, right? It was on the treadmill, a lot of movement, money coming in, but not much progress.

Mel Abraham  17:12  
If we're not careful, that treadmill turns in dreadmill. Pretty quick, pretty quickly.

Frank Benedetto  17:16  
Yes, yeah, I was there. I was there. But certainly the story,

Mel Abraham  17:22  
the cost would that and let you complete the story, I think that we need to be mindful of is not just financial, it's emotional, its physiological, its spiritual, its energetic, the cost is dramatic. And it's too easy to say, later, I'll fix those costs. But they come back to haunt you

Frank Benedetto  17:41  
the debt, the depths will need to be repaid. And the reality is that there's kind of not a reason to do business like that, in the modern day, even compared to five years ago, 10 years ago, the realities of what it took to get into business, the barrier to entry was just gigantic, kill huge loans, lots of equipment, big teams, all this other stuff. And now no matter what industry you're in, you need almost none of that or such a tiny scaled down version of that you need a laptop, a cell phone, social media account, maybe a couple of investments here and there. But it's a fraction, but the way and the mechanics of which the way biz, the business can work, just no longer needs to create these debts. But what I see happening is people still making decisions and modeling business frameworks from 510 years 2030 years ago. And basically creating the situation when it really does not need to happen. Yeah,

Mel Abraham  18:29  
what's shifted for you? What, what what changes did you make what that allowed you to start to move that action? Let's do this. Let's talk about where you are today. So they see where you are today. And then we'll talk about how you got here.

Frank Benedetto  18:43  
Okay, so can I fill in the gap of that last space? Yes. So I sell, I sell that business. I now have no debt. Yeah, I'm debt free. I still have mortgage, I own a home and I've ever mortgaged but normal mortgage. And that's my only form of debt. And I have I have money, positive net worth, you know, aside from the mortgage for the first time ever, and I also feel a little bit lost. I was a little burnt out the selling process, selling a business, especially that kind was really arduous. Selling A Business is much more difficult than most people could ever imagine. Oh, yeah. And especially as a newbie without making the proper guidance. So I finished the sale and I'm just fried man, I am fried emotionally, yet I still have this vision. And I took time off. I'm just reconnecting with my kids spending so much time with my wife going to the pool or the beach doing all these things. And I'm just wondering where I got to. I didn't make it anywhere near enough money to take more than a few months off. And I'm saying what am I going to do? And I stumbled upon this events where Mel tells the story. Originally, at that events, I create the vision for the next phase of my career. And at that events, I mean Mel who just so graciously offers his guidance and helping set up that business and set up some some of the other assets of what led to the current picture. So when I first met Mel with that issue, might savings was dwindling, because I just been living off of it. And I've family of five at this point, which is not cheap, especially in northern New Jersey, no. And I'm like, kind of lost. And I have no social media presence. I hate when I sold the business, I really lost all my connections through that I was starting at Ground Zero all over again. And I saw this vision when I was there at this event, and I pursued it from that day forward. So fast forward to who I am now and where I am now. One I live in Florida, which is much better than New Jersey, for a lot of reasons. But mostly the weather, I live right by the beach, and is amazing. It is just a joy and a blessing to be able to go outside every day. But I am truly entering a co face of the business that I had the vision for when I met Mel back in 2019. I believe it was 2019. And the so I have you know it's a multi million dollar entity now. And we are expanding that to launch a venture capital arm in the next 60 months where we started an incubator. Now incubator is very different than a business coaching program where a business coach is designed to take a proven model and help you implement that proven models. Just copy and paste, copy paste, there's great purpose for that. There's lots of people who could benefit from that. My mission, my purpose in life is to inspire innovation and healthcare. That's that's why I'm here. And an incubator uses principle based learning to help people with any idea, bring bring that idea to life and start serving the niche population that they feel called serve. We've had 600 clinicians through this program. And we have been slowly creating the plan for the venture capital or where myself and my business partner had invested now in six businesses total, including one that I founded a consumer facing one. And we will soon open that up to fundraising from other sources to then invest into our funds which will be spread between these these these startups. And man to think about that as a reality from a guy eight years ago who had a negative 200k. net worth in zero business experience is just kind of unbelievable. And then from the other side financially, obviously, there's so much positive going on in life. But more importantly, I wake up and see my kids every single morning. I often take them to school, I can meet my wife and my youngest is not in full school yet for lunch. Whenever they're in this part of town, I have a co working space few minutes from my house to keep some good work life balance separate. I'm home every day for dinner, we dinner a table like old school, family can play That's old school now, all the time I play sports and poker with a whole bunch of friends here I have a better social life I've ever had. And it's honestly just a dream come true. You know, it's far from perfect. So I don't want to misrepresent. There's still struggles. There's constantly things I'm working on. But in a comparison from 2015. Frank to 2023. Frank, I'm eternally grateful for for all the house.

Mel Abraham  23:23  
What what is? What is the current Frank doing different than than the 2015? Frank?

Frank Benedetto  23:32  
Oh, man, I mean, everything, I would say everything, I'd say the only thing that somehow didn't change back then and I look back and I give reverence to myself, which I think more of us need to be doing is that I held a vision even despite such a dark, desolate place, and when money would come in, I would just consistently reinvest it into the business, which was both what propelled it to the levels that did but also propelled my downfall. So I will treat it because they brought me here. But I do that very differently now. So I do invest in my business. But I was definitely the entrepreneur who every dollar that came in, I was almost automatically just looking to feed it directly into the business, constant business growth, constant business growth, and very little personal financial growth in any other buckets. And I would say that that fundamental mindset shift, this is a major one.

Mel Abraham  24:27  
Yeah, and this is, look, this is something that a lot of entrepreneurs I think struggle with, especially because they say, Well, if I invest $1, in my business, I can actually probably make $20, but you're saying invested outside my business, and I might make $10 Why would I do that? But if we just look at that $10 versus $20 as the only metric then you got a case but You can't look at it without the other costs the other elements, how much risk are you taking on when you put everything into the business, and nowhere else. And if the business goes south or you end up, like if the pandemic hits you before you, you sold the business, or any of those things, and everything 100% is going into the business because you think it's the highest return. And you have no diversification, you know, no stratification. You put yourself at risk, do other things, what's the emotional costs? What are the other costs around that, and we tend to discount those and why I keep saying that we have to be on parallel journeys and earnings journey, and a money journey is for the sake of choice, that Frank has a choice now, I'm gonna get up, I'm going to hang with the kids, I'm gonna walk him to school, I'm gonna have lunch with my wife. And I have a choice. And I have the ability to say, yes, nor indifferent, it just, but it is no longer. I'm on the treadmill. And I know if I slow down, I'm going to stumble and fall. But you have a choice. And I think that's really the driving force behind figuring out how do we run these parallel journeys? And and whether you're, what do you and just so those of you that are listening, because I know I have some that are not business owners are listening is that it doesn't matter whether you are a business owner or an employee, a wage earner, you still have to be on two parallel journeys, you still have to have an earnings journey, which is the job, but you have to have the money journey. Do we no longer live in the industrial age where pension plans are prevalent pension plans, meaning lifetime income streams after you retire? They don't exist anymore. They do exist in very few businesses. But the fact is, is that we have been burdened and blessed with the responsibility to create our own lifetime income stream, our own pension, if you will, in this new era, and this new season. And it is possible if you follow principles, and we don't get so entrenched in enmeshed in old way of thinking and an old way of doing things. And I think that's part of what you did.

Frank Benedetto  27:31  
Yeah, absolutely. And from really more micro level. So if that's a macro, zooming all the way in, I fully adopted your principle of giving every dollar a job, so that if every dollar was an employee, if every dollar was a team member, and I were to be delegating and assigning tasks or duties, I didn't I just for some reason didn't get that for so long. And now my wife and I have meet we just met yesterday over Starbucks, my older two kids watch the little one, we go to Starbucks, we started talking about what are our goals for the rest of the year? How are we doing with the goals we set this year? We're coming into April and the observed fishing April, we're going into may like what's the goal for the summer? What's on the docket? financially? Oh, we're going to Disney on May 26. Well, how much per day are we going to assign? How much per day are we doing this? So let's look at my kids. 13 He needs an allowance now because he's spending money. So we either need to sign it and control it and delegate it or it's gonna just happen automatically. And we're gonna pass on these, these perhaps old money habits that we got away with, because of my income earning potential that they might not have, or they might not desire to have. And I want them to have the optionality and the freedom to choose. But having every job I've ever seen every dollar have a job is without a doubt, one of the biggest changes that that's occurred and attribute to where I'm at now. It's also flipped budgeting budgeting that word always had meant restriction to me. Yeah, where it was meant, like less, no, if you just have to, like throw out words that budgeting cheap, you know, no cutting corners, you know, all those type things. And now budgeting to me means ensuring we're putting the money behind what actually matters most. So if that sometimes that is something that's a little more superficial, sometimes it is something a little bit more frivolous. But that's very by conscious design now saying, okay, you know what, yeah, we're gonna splurge on this thing this month, because we understand the full spectrum of where the money is going. And we're allocating a little bit each month to be able to do that, that budgeting now allows for that instead of the other way around, which was very negative and yeah, most restrictive type philosophy.

Mel Abraham  29:54  
So and you said a couple things. I want to make sure that the viewers and listeners here first off If you and your wife got together, and you talk, this wasn't sitting at Starbucks and going, honey, you spent $20 too much on that manicure. This was about you talking about your life, what the goals are, what the vision is what is because when we find ourselves because one of the first things takeaways that I'll tell people in one of my keynotes is I say, first things first, if you're in a committed relationship should be in a committed relationship are married, whatever, ie your significant other, sit down, have a conversation, but not a conversation about spending conversate conversation around dreams, a conversation around vision, a conversation around what you want in life, because we don't have those conversations. And when we come together on that common vision, that dream, that desire that goal, when we then start to say, Okay, how do we make it happen as a togetherness, it doesn't separate us like money is one of the highest causes of divorce, behind infidelity, which is crazy. It should be bringing you together, because you should be on a common journey. That's the thing that I think you, you, you hit on. And I want people to hear that this isn't about you guys going over the budget and saying, Hey, and judging each other and and saying you got to stop. Because now when we both make decisions from the dream forward, we can make decisions because we know the purpose behind those decisions. The second thing that I think is important I

Frank Benedetto  31:37  
jump in on the matter. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, the effort to make sure that I'm always being really transparent. That moment, you know, and I would say this is the last year's worth of, of evolution, like we have been meeting now for about a year, in this form. That has only happened because we weathered the storm of do it, try attempting to do it the wrong way, yet are like, Hey, how come you spent this and how come you spent that and it's going both ways or, or feeling like I was coming across, I was reading about all this stuff, and then bringing it even with good intentions, but it would put her sometimes on the defensive, even though it wasn't accusing. But this notion is not normal. Most people have never had a conscious relationship with money, which means then that they struggle to share a conscious relationship with money, they don't have one themselves. So if one partner is is leveling up their their financial knowledge without keeping the other one informed, or like trying to bring with or inviting the bring with or something, it will be misrepresented, even if you have the best of intentions. So it really did take a couple of years of inviting and saying, Hey, this is and now with the language that finally made it click was budgeting in this form of budgeting and we're doing is the vehicle for this co-created future. But I don't want to be about my future. Do you want to like sit down and cocreate are our goals to another level? Because I'd love to just, you know, we've clearly achieved a lot you know, it's a Jacqueline have a track record now where we can say we hit our goals, you know, and we work together and she supports me and I support her, we hit our goals. Well, let's get even more tangible. And we'll hit those two. So let's dream a little bit bigger. And then through that, that shared creative, creative vision starting there, then we could reverse down to woof Wow, we spent $140 last month at Starbucks. You know, that's a you know, the run rate of that per year. That's now our $1,000 let's say if we cut that back and 75% That's another $1,000 We could be putting towards this dream vacation that's frivolous. You know, it's like not it's not a normal one, they'll just but let's let's take it from there and put it over here and all of a sudden not going to Starbucks when you want it is because you're holding the vision for that dream vacation. And not because you know, the husband or the wife said you're not allowed to or something like that. Yeah,

Mel Abraham  34:08  
you're making a decision out of desire and not deprivation.

Frank Benedetto  34:12  
Wow, man, you're so good with those things smell. One day I was calls alliterations Yeah, they just stick to people's braids. I'm gonna I'm gonna have to train you got to train me on this. Oh, my God. Oh, thanks. Well, I

Mel Abraham  34:25  
here's the other side of that, because what is it? What do you think it's done for your, your relationship with Jackie? Oh, there's

Frank Benedetto  34:33  
just so much less friction in that realm. You know that that's just the truth. It's one less thing to potentially get in the way of a more meaningful relationship. And most of it was in retrospect, to just the misunderstandings or because we it was an omission of talking about it. Not that the actual issue was what if we had just talked about it? Using a shared language and shared vision for an outcome? Almost all the problems actually just figure themselves out?

Mel Abraham  35:01  
Yeah, I think that's the issue is we don't talk about it and use the word, which I love it as that you are conscious with your money discussions? And what do people say? Well, you eat the whole thing with budgeting, if you're going to tell me I can't spend no, no, I'm not actually all I want you to do if you want to, you want to do Starbucks, you want to do whatever, just do it. Just be conscious of it, and be aware of the actual cost. And if you're doing it fully informed, who am I to tell you how to live? I mean, trust me, I spent a whole lot of money doing things that probably you will look and go, What are you doing, but it's conscious, it's intentional. That's where I think that we get caught up in the money game is when we're unintentional, or we're unconscious, blindly swiping good, that looks good, by, you know, and we don't realize the cost of that over time. And the repetitive cost of that, because what we're doing is we're buying mindlessly. And for something other than utility, or need, we're buying to satisfy some emotional response or something like that, that's where we start to get in trouble. So. So I love the fact that you're looking at this and saying, we're just simply going to be conscious about the choices we make, and be together on that journey, and not just allow unconscious spending or unconscious money, things, you know, I can earn it again, I can do that. Those kinds of things come into play. And then you find that we're at a hole.

Frank Benedetto  36:52  
Yep. Yep. And what's helped me drive that home. And then we'll go back to second point where because I interrupted you, hopefully ever written down somewhere, is, when it makes it into our budget, we actually have to spend that's like our role is, so we put away $2,000 A month as a family, for anything in the category of health, fitness, wellness, supplements, coaches, you know, meaning like health coaches, or anything in the health and wellness room trainers, gym memberships, gym equipment, and I expect us to spend that 2000 Or if we are saying, oh, let's actually make this big investment into this huge piece of equipment, maybe we'll slice off 500 from it and then put that away. But we're, we're we're like, we're if we're saying 2000 It's what do you want to spend 2000 on in the health and fitness realm, to get us to our health goals, you know, so if it's family fun, and there's 200 bucks left at the end of the weekend, at the end of the month, and there's one weekend left, we say the kids like, what do you want to we have 200 bucks off let's you want to go to the beach aquarium, the zoo or let's let's let's go spend that. And that that mindset then actually enforces compliance with the other areas of, oh, we're out of money. We're going to the free beach, you know, where you walk a half a mile and drag your stuff on. Like, and we're going to pack lunch, and we're going to eat the sandy sandwich. It's because that there's no more money left in it. And that's okay, because we consciously spent it in some other fun stuff earlier in the month.

Mel Abraham  38:25  
So cool. So cool. Well, the second point was the consciousness. So so we hit it, that's cool. But you also mentioned something about your, your, your your kid being 13 I can't believe 13 All right, and, dude, yeah. So here's, here's the question, how are you bringing them? Because we didn't have this conversation but but how you bringing them into the money conversations? Because I you know, I mean, you know, my son is now 33 I've got two to two beautiful granddaughters and you know, and his wife's 30 And they're doing really well but I brought him early into the into the money conversation.

Frank Benedetto  39:04  
So this one is deeply emotional and personal because Frankie is old enough where he has witnessed my, he's conscious of of my, my, I don't want to say bad, but my previous years where I was not conscious of money, he is aware, he watched me just spend tons of it he watched me be workaholic. And I do have some fears around that his actual earliest imprint of money is that you can always make more and a bit hedonistic, you know, so the how are we trying to offset that one is I very purposely have financial conversations around them. They know how much money I made they know how much money the business makes, they know how much money that means that I take home, right so we think like oh, a million dollar business that means you're a millionaire right when you're a kid you hear that? Oh, no, no, no. Now they know about profit margins they know about taxes and I tell them how much taxes I pay. And I'm just very transparent with them. And I show them that respect by just giving them a glimpse into what's real. I will consciously have budgeting conversations, not all of them, but monthly budgeting conversation to where we look at some of the apps we use and say, Oh, hey, babe, ah, I think we're over this month on this, like, what do you think has what happened? Did we like where do we not touch that? And then they'll hear that, oh, where should I pull the money from? So they hear that that money doesn't just come from dad's business that but that money comes from the health and fitness fund because we went over in cars or something along those lines. And then lastly, we do use with your permission to mention one tool because I do think it's the only one available right now for kids is Greenlight. Greenlight is an app where you can no affiliate by the way, the the where you could give kids a checking account, and actually has categories within it, that they can choose their spending. So we are now giving him a monthly budget. And he is in charge of managing that 120 bucks, between school lunches, dinners with friends, because there's like a town center here by rides their bikes to snacks, ice creams, if we're choosing not to eat out as a family, but he wants to, he actually can, you know, he could say I'm not going to have this meal. I'm gonna go to Jersey Mike's. And but but whenever money runs out that money that money runs out.

Mel Abraham  41:33  
Beautiful see, and that that's really, that's kind of where I was I was going is because when we start to have these conversations, because I grew up in a household maybe much like you, we don't have money conversations, I didn't know what dad made. I didn't know what it was all about. I I did see mom and dad I'd say bigger at times of because of money and we can't afford this. So we're not, you know, they didn't have they didn't have good money conversations. And privacy impacted me I remember seeing my dad, when I was five years old is first time I actually saw my dad cry. You know, and it was it was not tears, because he couldn't handle it. It was tears because he felt like he was letting the family down. Put it I mean, lord knows who he he was, he'd never let us down. We had a good life. We had everything we needed. Did we have everything we wanted? No. But did we need everything we wanted know, clearly, you know, and, and so I know with Jeremy I started having conversations like this and there was nothing like green light back then. But same thing created a checking account, he would get he would get a what I call the commission seven allowance. So there was an earnings attached to it. And he would have an allocation, you know, school lunches, close games, generosity, you know, savings and investing. And, but the reason for it was was to build the muscle around the money to create the conversation around the cash, and to give him a vision and an understanding of what could happen if we started early cuz time is the most powerful tool we have to wealth building. I mean, and so they're 33 and 33 homes in a multi million dollar net worth right now. You know, and so, and the best part about it is a common to live on my couch. I know ain't coming home, in his 30s out, you know, but I think that we have that opportunity to create lessons for our children that we haven't done best when it came driving time when it came to where he wanted to get his first car or something. He said, Alright, here's how we're going to do this. I will match whatever you have for your downpayment. And so I created a a matching with him. When he would put money into a an A invest like he was earning money. So he could put money into a Roth IRA or something. I matched it just like a 401k. And so for him, it was like gray, my dad's giving me free money, you know, can't touch it till you're 59. But now all of a sudden, he's getting that, that, that flavor around it. And I think that you're doing such a gift for your kids to create financial independence and independent thinking. And so I mean, I honor you for doing that with little Frankie.

Frank Benedetto  44:49  
Thank you. Thank you. It's not always easy. No, it's not always easy, but it's definitely worth it. It's I can only imagine I constantly tell them if if I had this Education now, if I if I had the education that you're getting at your age, what life would look like for me, right? I mean, it would be incomprehensibly different. You know, I'm not complaining and the it but it just factually, it would be incomprehensibly different. If I had the forced savings mentality from time I've seen, you know, through now, the my net worth will be, oh, no, it's 1020 100 times higher, potentially.

Mel Abraham  45:28  
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, you tell Frankie that, that for every dollar he puts away, for every dollar you put away 20 years old, it's going to turn into 80 8080 plus times, you know, 90 times, by the time he's ready to retire at 13. As he's putting money away, that's going to double it's going to be a couple 100 times. And so literally, if he, if he's putting money away, in small increments, but does it consistently for the next decade, he's that whole thing will give so much money momentum over the years over the decades, that it's going to set him up beautifully down the road. So the goal? Yeah, yeah. And it's not you just handing him money, it's you handing him a skill set before the assets. So he knows what to do with it. And I think when we do that with our children, we we give them the the opportunity to be financially independent, not dependent on government handouts, any of that stuff not dependent on debt. And we give them the smarts and the tools to do it, do it right, I You're doing the right thing, my friend I'm in, in a short period of time, you've completely transformed from what I've seen as an outsider, your financial life, your family life, and your relationship with, with your children and a time the way you the way the way you do and your relationship with money?

Frank Benedetto  47:04  
Absolutely, it is from even from 2019 through now, it's a one eight, you know, so I had been fine financially achieved a certain goal, but the relationship had not changed yet. And if the relationship didn't change, I am confident I would have tanked the the money that I did get from the exit from the sale of that first business. And I'm really grateful it's still a work in progress. You know, it's one of those things where, if I'm going to be 39, this year, so for 36 year, the conditioning around money, it was a certain way, it's really easy to default or subconsciously unconsciously slide back. So that it's not one of those things where you arrive, and now it's just locked in place. It is one of those things where you have to set up systems so that you can catch the trends while it's happening. So we will just use the Starbucks example again, because that literally was the one from last month. Where the kid Yeah, we're out on a road trip. Yeah, we'll stop the the Khalil out five Starbucks drinks, because I'll get all three kids want them, we get them. And we said yes to it. So it's like $35, right. So that's 30. By Gosh, you do that a couple of times a month, me and Jacqueline go a couple times on our own, and all of a sudden route 150 200 bucks. So it's less about that there are some points that we arrive at such a trivial little example. Hopefully, people could see beyond that. But it's about setting up the systems, many of which you You taught me of coming, having the data to then snap you back into awareness. So you can say oof, that's actually not in line with our values. That's okay. We caught it. So super small. There's no like gigantic mistakes anymore. It used to be impulse buys. The reversal of the relationship around dopamine, and money and savings, I think was the other fundamental process here. So I was someone who got more dopamine. And I believe that part of this is genetic. I believe it's part of part upbringing, part genetic, but I was somebody whose dopamine receptors are wired, that spending money released more saving money had almost no dopamine response in any capacity, it was almost a negative and getting a system in place, so that when I'm tracking a net worth tracker, almost gamifying. This by design and putting it in front of me in multiple different ways, you know, beyond the budgeting tool on its own tool in net worth calculator, because there's a billion of those you could use and now reversing the dopamine response so that when savings goals are hit, I have actually now reconditioned my brain that that actually releases the dopamine and Bigger purchases at the appropriate level were actually released stress hormones, whereas the relationship used to be reversed. And I had to very, very consciously tackle that. Yeah, it was, it was probably the hardest one to tackle.

Mel Abraham  50:17  
And I think that you bring up a point that the so many of us maybe were completely unconscious of that dopamine hit will completely it's, it's you, they can call a retail therapy, they can call whatever they want to call it. But there is a chemical response to their and in an in a world where everyone's parading their supposedly perfect facade of a life on social media and you think, oh, wait a second, they got to the they got to Denali, I gotta go get a Denali too. And, and we're keeping up with the Joneses, well, the Joneses are freaking broke. And, and, and their life is a mess, they're in debt, that kind of thing. And, and we just don't realize that that dopamine hit and I think that that dopamine is is is not just in the money, space, it's in a lot of areas of our life if we're not careful about it.

Frank Benedetto  51:18  
Absolutely. And part of my recovery from that. And I do believe it was literally in an addictive level was the, the seeking of dopamine from other areas of life, like exercise like Glocal adventures that cost no money, you're going to learn how to search after you buy $100 surfboard, you then just go to the beach, and you hop on a surfboard, you know, so a huge part of the reinventing of my life that really happened most in the last year and a half when I moved to Florida, because the outdoor lifestyle is what actually gives me my dopamine, everybody's different wisdom, find what makes their their neurochemicals flourish, but outdoors, a sense of adventure, a sense of variety. Those are the things that that really are my values, you know, beyond the business stuff version of values. So once I loaded up on my arsenal of hiking, biking, surfing, going to the beach, playing with my kids, certain things, I love playing pickleball my kids, it's like, so fun. When you start to train yourself to get dopamine from the real world again, you then wean yourself off of the dopamine from our digital world, in the form of social media in the form of online shopping in the form of even business, you know, my main form of dopamine for a long time was just seeing my stripe, accounts receivable monthly. So seeing it hit 100k and gamifying. Like we got to get 100k a month, 100k month 100 A month. Well, that that was more of a dopamine response for me than let's say going for a bike ride. So I've been able to hold those goals, you know, the duality be able to do both while reorienting my dopamine response to the real world and seeing saving seen as wealth as a pathway to doing those things for the rest of my life. You know, so hopefully that serves somebody. Yeah,

Mel Abraham  53:16  
no, I think it's something we don't we don't talk about enough. We don't talk about that, you know, when we start to see the unconscious elements of of spending and money decisions, a lot of times it is satisfying that dopamine hit. Yep. So

Frank Benedetto  53:33  
So and another strategy that helps me rewire the thing was, and I think you were the one to give me this any major purchase over a certain dollar amount. So that dollar round has changed. But in the beginning, it was like 250 or something like that. $250 I would be the answer was not know the answer was wait a week. I'm pretty sure that that was one of your coaching calls with me. That one saves my life. Because a week later, like pose i What did I say I needed less. You're like, you can't even remember what Yeah, yeah. You know, it's like, and if it does stick us okay, that that means it's important. Now you're coming at it from this very logical brain not hyped up not believing that there's only 24 hours left not falling to the Buy One Get One apple falling for all these other things. But that one week, though, that changes everything. Now within that week, doing a visualization of is this another thing that then in one to two months, I'm just looking to throw away and then replacing get another one of oftentimes visualizing having it gives you the same dopamine, and then when that wears off, you have a real perspective and then you can list the negatives of owning it. So oftentimes, we embellish in these fantasies that when I buy this I will be so much happier when all things are balanced, right? So if we spend more time saying, Well, I want to build a home gym and that's a major investment I just did after moving from Jersey where I sold by I'm Jim, mostly because I couldn't fit it in the pods that we had rented. It wasn't worth getting a third pot. But I joined at the local gym here. And I recently said, well, let's budget out what it would look like, wait a week, six grand is the total because I wanted some very specific equipment weighed all the pros and cons visualized. There are a lot of negatives, you know, it's gonna be boring, it's gonna be lonely. I said, I live in Florida, Florida garages are hot, there's not a room in my house. So when you list out all the negatives, you you neutralize the neurochemical cocktail that gets created by purchasing something. And if you still feel like purchasing it afterwards, chances are it's more grounded in reality, and is in line with while me having a home gym means I actually take the kids to school more, and I get the shower in my own house. And there's just like less to pack. And I don't have to wait for these machines. So I'm going to deal with the negatives, I'm going to pull the trigger on a six grand. And it's all calculated. And it's just a completely different way of making these money decisions.

Mel Abraham  56:01  
I love this. Ah, so good. So good, Frank, so good. The kinds of things that you've done over the number of years that we've known each other, and I've watched you grow as a person as a man as a husband, as a dad, as an entrepreneur, and it's just a joy to see you. You have been by my side. For somebody that don't know he is he has helped numerous people from cancer. He was with me during my cancer journey to the point of monitoring everything my sleep, my my nutrition, my everything when I didn't sleep well, I'd get a text from God, dude, what's happening? I'm going man, you know too much, you know too much. So you just that's the kind of heart and soul prank has, as we start to close this out couple things. One is what would you say to someone that's starting this money journey? And the second is those that maybe want to follow Frank or know more about Frank? How to how do they how do they catch up with you? Yeah,

Frank Benedetto  57:09  
I'm gonna give one. One other thing first. Everybody's listening, give this man a chance to change your life? Because if you do, he will. I've been a part of group programs. I've been a one on one client, I've done a whole slew of what he has to offer. And I don't know if anybody else has the kind of pride that he puts into each of these things that he had Mel doesn't do anything and 99% Yeah, sometimes we have people say this guy doesn't do anything half assed. No, Mel doesn't do anything at 99%, the guy only knows 100%. And he probably only knows 200%. So out of the transformation I've made Yes, I do own my own accountability through it, because that's something I, I used to not do too much. So I did take the steps. But I'm telling you that most of the steps that I've outlined today, were put on the hands me in a platter, by Mel and and without that platter. I don't know where I'd be right now. And without that, I don't know if my kids would be on the trajectory that they're on. There's no greater gift than that. The the passing down of the lessons that you've taught me, there's nothing greater than that. So thank you. And if you're listening to this, you've been thinking about taking one of those things, just do it. There's there's zero chances are they're not going to change your life. As far as the other questions goes, it was first starting out. I really do think that more people need to get clear on their greater vision, especially employees. You know, I work with a lot of health care employees, and their vision is so myopic. It's paycheck to paycheck, it's going treat the patients and their job is important. Many of your jobs listening are important. But it's time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Look at a year look at 10 years, look at 20 years, look at the end of your life. Imagine you're at the end of your life looking backwards and ask yourself the questions that you think you might ask yourself then and chances are one of them is going to be something like how did I use my time? How did I use my money and you know, time to me is is is bought by money. So my time was my kids is bought by the money that my business earned. And I think if you get zoom out, it's all of a sudden becomes really clear of what to do in the short term. But our modern day society does not promote zooming out very much. If you'd like to follow me, if you're in healthcare especially that's where you're gonna get the most value. I'm following me is Frank underscore Benedetto. And check the show notes for the spelling on that. Yes, a nice Italian last name. And that's that's where I hang out mostly to find me on Facebook, Twitter, all the same handles and I answer all the DMS. So if you do have a question specifically about out how I approach healthcare businesses. I'm happy to help while I have an entire library of free trainings that we give way to try to evolve healthcare using technology. hook you up with this.

Mel Abraham  1:00:11  
Dude, Nick, thank you so much for your time for your your heart, your soul and how you show up. I appreciate you jumping on on the show with me today, man.

Frank Benedetto  1:00:20  
Appreciate you having me. It's a it's a full circle moment for me. Ah, bless you,

Mel Abraham  1:00:25  
man. I can't wait for more and to hopefully see you soon, man.

Frank Benedetto  1:00:29  
Yep, take care up. All right, buddy.

Mel Abraham  1:00:31  
Cheers. Thank you for listening to the affluent entrepreneur show with me your host Mel Abraham. If you want to achieve financial liberation to create an affluent lifestyle, join me in the Affluent Entrepreneur Facebook group now by going to and I'll see you there.

About Frank
Frank’s journey in building successful businesses
Reaching rock bottom financially and emotionally at 30 years old
Setting a vision and becoming determined again
Struggling to balance business success and family life
The cost of doing business in the modern day
Investing outside the business
Running parallel journeys in earnings and money
Bringing your kids into the money conversation
The importance of building the muscle around cash
Reversing the relationship between dopamine and money
How to use visualization to make money decisions